Location: Windhoek, Namibia
Client: Namibia Tourism Board
Main Contractor: Afrideca Construction Namibia
The site for the new head offices of the Namibia Tourism Board is located on top of a prominent rise that falls steeply toward the southeast. The long western façade is exposed to afternoon sun and as a consequence passive sun control measures feature strongly as a design element. The client’s brief called for an energy efficient building that is particular to the Namibian context as a tourist destination while speaking clearly of the NTB’s position at the centre of this important industry.
Visitors enter the three upper levels of the building centrally from the Northwestern corner of Sam Nujoma Drive and Haddy Street while the staff access the site from the quieter Hoogenhout Street on the south. The office is organised as a long rectangle that follows the northern and western site boundaries and has vertical circulation shafts located centrally and on each end.
The pedestal upon which the office superstructure is positioned comprises of 2 levels of parking semi-basements that have been carefully finished in off-shutter concrete. Steel screens provide security to these naturally ventilated spaces and articulate the large concrete surfaces and deep shadows of the enclosed areas behind them. Above the concrete plinth the external walls are coated in a white acrylic resin-bonded plaster to reduce maintenance of the envelope and to reflect heat.
Although the client’s brief did not require third party certification of the building in terms of its environmental performance a number of innovations have been implemented that will ensure that the building operates efficiently and that wastage is reduced to a minimum. Light fittings as well as mechanical, electrical and water appliances have all been selected to be as efficient as possible and a 50 kW peak photovoltaic installation on the roof will generate enough renewable energy to meet the facility’s peak demand. The sun control screens are comprised of factory-finished composite aluminium panels that have been CNC-perforated in a pattern generated from a photograph of indigenous vegetation. This provides a dappled shade to the interior during the day that is reminiscent of that found under shade trees countrywide.
Finishes have been selected to reduce maintenance as far as possible and the interior colour scheme is primarily white with Maple veneer plywood joinery. This delivers a light interior that will provide a productive work environment to the occupants.